Biomarkers for Precision medicine
Globally, breast cancer affects ±1.7 million people annually. Approximately 50% of these patients is cured with surgery ± adjuvant radiotherapy. The other 50% requires additional adjuvant systemic therapies to reduce the risk of later metastases and breast cancer-related death. Currently, selection of the right therapy for each patient is suboptimal, leading to frequent overtreatment and occasional undertreatment, as well as ineffective treatment.
In the eighties and nineties, anticancer agents were discarded as ineffective if less than 20% of general breast cancer patients derived clinical benefit. With current knowledge of breast cancer molecular subtypes, like triple negative breast cancer comprising 10-15% of all breast cancers, the question is, how many effective anticancer agents have we discarded erroneously? My lab has four research lines, with a particular focus on drug repurposing: 1) developing predictive tests for personalized adjuvant chemotherapy; 2) developing predictive tests for personalized adjuvant endocrine therapy; 3) developing prognostic tests to assess who needs additional adjuvant systemic therapy; 4) focus on young breast cancer patients that may face particular issues, such as pregnancy-associated breast cancer, fertility preservation, and long life expectation with enhanced risk of late toxicities due to adjuvant systemic therapies.
These are broad research themes that require extensive multidisciplinary research efforts. Therefore, we collaborate with many groups, both inside as well as outside the institute. Our successes can be considered a true multidisciplinary team effort.
For some of these themes, we are expanding our research to different tumor types, such as ovarian cancer.